The potential ripple effects of defunding the police that no one is talking about (pt 3)
Assault, abuse, sexual assault, racism
We’ve looked at what the ripples of defunding the police could lead to inside the home. What could it look like externally and for communities? Rise in police crimes?
We can call it by it’s common name –police misconduct. But let’s not forget that acts of police misconduct committed by civilians are called crimes. Perhaps it’s more telling than we realize that we give a different name to a criminal act committed by law enforcement. There is a level of desensitization that accompanies this language.
Defining police misconduct
Police misconduct typically focuses on acts related to the job of policing. Such as coerced false confessions, illegal searches and illegal surveillance. Also, witness tampering, perjury and sexual “misconduct” (AKA assault). Plus, false arrests, destroying evidence, bribing legislators etc.
Misconduct has a strong positive correlation with discrimination. Officers who are more likely to discriminate, either consciously or subconsciously, are also more likely to commit acts of misconduct. Suddenly there’s an obvious and logical -although horrifying- pattern within police brutality emerging isn’t there?
At any rate, it stands to reason that as more officers are held accountable we will see a rise in lay offs, terminations and disciplinary action. And the ones who will be experiencing these actions will be the ones who express discrimination most frequently.
What are the chances of them committing further acts of misconduct before they’re disciplined or terminated? For this next part, it’s worth knowing a bit about the employment statistics within policing.
The reality of police misconduct
Of the 85,000 public records we can look at involving police misconduct investigations and/or disciplinary actions over the last decade, there are multiple patterns of behaviour. Almost a quarter of the investigations were for use of excessive force. Over 3,000 cases involved sexual assaults and over 2,000 cases involved domestic violence.
Yes I believe in innocent until proven guilty. But it’s hard to deny that there is a pattern emerging for some officers when we look at these figures. Why don’t all officers have more than 10, or 100 allegations against them?
The problem of misconduct (at least at some level) is so pervasive in policing that there are over 30,000 officers de-certified and banned from policing in 44 states. This is encouraging that steps are being taken to protect the public. However, it’s also concerning because America has more than 44 states. Meaning there are some states they are still permitted to be hired in.
In an ideal situation with defunding the police, the individuals who break the law on the clock will be terminated. And then legally held accountable for their actions. However, the reality is that they will likely only be let go from their place of employment. Which brings me to my next question.
Where will they work?
As it currently stands, it’s common for terminated officers to simply be rehired by other agencies and continue working in policing. If defunding the police is to actually be successful, it would also need to include policies around accountability. Including not permitting fired police officers to be rehired for the same job elsewhere.
In that case, one of the ripples of defunding the police would be a probable rise in terminated officers pursuing careers in positions that still maintain authority over others and in many roles, possibly inflict violence.
Some predictable positions would include security guards, detention center officers, corrections officers and private investigators. With more seniority in policing, they’re likely eligible for roles that have more supervisory capacity over others and more authority.
The Next Steps
So what does this all mean?
This series has opened our eyes to some grim statistics and even grimmer possible repercussions of defunding the police. While I said in part one, I am by no means saying I disagree with the notion of defunding the police; there are multiple variables to consider.
However, there’s still hope, because for as many possible negative outcomes as there are to all of this, there are even more positive ones. Click here to read about possible solutions and ways to make communities safer.